You are already mindful.
You already have this breath, this body, right now.
Let's experience this now.
I invite you to sit comfortably upright on a chair, a stool, or a cushion. Sit so your knees are level with or below your waist. Let your hands rest on your lap or on your legs. Try to get a sense of the spine lengthened, with a natural curve at the lower back. See if you can find a balance between upright alertness and relaxed comfort.
Close your eyes, if it feels comfortable for you. If you prefer to keep them open then allow your gaze to softly focus on a point some four to five feet in front of you.
Take a conscious deeper in-breath, followed by a longer out-breath. Bring awareness to the energy of the in-breath. Notice the pause at the end of the breath, then bring awareness to the energy of the out-breath, noticing its pause at the end.
Bring awareness to breathing in and out in this way for the next few breaths.
See if you can bring an attitude of relaxed curiosity to breathing in this way - to the breath breathing for you.
It's fascinating to know that the breath is breathing for you. Maybe allow yourself a moment to feel the awe and wonder of this life-sustaining force unconditionally supporting you.
Allow that reality to sink in for a moment: that you already have a capacity within you that is unconditionally supporting you. It has been with you since the moment you were born and it will be with you until the moment you die.
Now become aware of your body and the space around you. Notice how the space around you hugs and holds your shape. Notice the feeling of your weight pressing down.
Feel the ground beneath you.
Feel the earth below you, pressing up, supporting you.
There is so much that is already here, supporting you.
So let's use this capacity.
You have the capacity for awareness. You have the faculty of attention.
Bring your attention to the very top of your head. Put all your focus there. Notice any sensations you have.
Now, shift your focus to your eyes. Feel the tiny movements they are making.
Notice sensations in your mouth. Sensations at the lips.
Bring awareness to your neck. What do you notice here? Maybe tension? If there is tension, can you bring some relaxed, gentle curiosity to these sensations?
Now, bring awareness to your chest and lungs. Feel your chest and lungs expanding and contracting as you breathe.
Perhaps you can feel your heart beating, and pumping.
Feel the heart's expansion. Its fullness.
Now send your focus down your arms, all the way to each fingertip. Feel the sensations in your fingertips.
Now glide your focus to the belly. Notice how your belly feels. Maybe it’s digesting.
Notice your pelvis and hips and the sensations of your weight pressing down.
Bring awareness down each leg, over your knees, and down all the way to your feet and to each toe, and to the space between your toes.
You have now become aware of regions of your body.
This is mindful.
You are experiencing what's already here for you.
See if you can relax into what’s already here for you, with full attention. See if you can allow yourself to non-judgementally experience what’s here for you, whether it be comfortable, uncomfortable, or neutral.
See if you can accept what’s arising for you in awareness.
Awareness comes and goes. But that’s okay. That’s how awareness works. It’s how the mind works. Things come and go. It’s the nature of the mind’s design. The mind will carry you away, to the past, to the future, but you have it within you to remember to bring the mind back to this present moment, especially if it’s carrying you somewhere you don’t want to go.
A good place to remember to come back to is this breath, in this body, right now.
Doing this can help you find a slither of space to help you work through – or change how you relate to - problems such as stress, lack of confidence, procrastination, fear of failure, and much more.
Every day, take several full deep breaths, allowing yourself to let go of anything that bothers you.
Every day, come back to this breath, this body, right now, and remember you are already mindful.
Every day, allow yourself to come back home to who you already are so that when you show up for your work you have a better chance to not only get the job done but also accomplish things that move you forward.
Promise yourself when you find yourself exhausted, frazzled, impulsive, or craving, to simply take a moment to stop and bring awareness to this breath, this body, right now.
This breath, this body, right now, supporting you.
This breath, this body, right now, anchoring you. Grounding you.
Maybe use this awareness as a mantra:
For instance …
with this breath, this body, right now I can find the space to make better decisions
with this breath, this body, right now, I can be with this difficult conversation
with this breath, this body, right now I can express my needs
with this breath, this body, right now I can be present for the people I choose to serve
with this breath, this body, right now, I can be here for this person I love
This breath, this body, right now is where the inward journey starts.
It’s the journey of taking care of yourself.
It’s not easy to do.
But it's what we’re being invited to do.
It's an invitation to possibility.
In particular, the possibility of accepting who you already are, rather than who you think, or who you have been told, you should be.
We explore this possibility through meditation. What you're doing here is meditating.
One meditation teacher taught me that meditation is experiencing. Another teacher taught me that during meditation you become non-judgementally aware of being the experiencer experiencing the experience. Essentially, you recognise what you are experiencing as you are experiencing it - such as a thought, an emotion, a sensation - and understand and accept why you are experiencing it.
Acceptance is key. Acceptance leads to finding something called space within the experience. A famous phrase that elucidates upon this and is widely used within mindfulness teaching is:
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
You already have the space between stimulus and response. It's within you. It's embodied. It gives you a slither of time to choose a wise (or at least a wiser, more considered) response.
The breath and the body can help you to do this.
The breath and the body can help you slow down.
The breath and the body can meet contraction with expansion.
The breath and the body can help you understand the terms and conditions of your job as a meditator.
One teacher puts it like this:
"A meditator’s job is to remember to be aware. Whether you are standing, sitting, lying down, or walking if you remember that you are aware, then you are meditating, and you are cultivating this wholesome quality of mind. We always start with awareness …. What the mind is aware of—the objects of awareness such as sensations, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions—isn’t really important. … What’s important is the quality of the observing mind that is always working in the background to be aware. The more we remember to be aware, the more we nourish the wisdom that dissolves stress and suffering."
Mindfulness is remembering to be aware.
You already know how to remember.
Welcome to 'already mindful'.
Most importantly, welcome to reflections, meditations, and the practical wisdom of teachers, practitioners, and influencers who can help you find mindfulness in what's already here for you, so that mindfulness practice makes sense for you in the here and now of your life.
Thank you for your time and attention.